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Proposed Arkansas Bill Would Limit Athletic Trainers

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As the 2017 legislative session gets underway in Arkansas, a bill under consideration could place restrictions on the care athletic trainers are able to provide to students.

According to KFSM 5NEWS, House Bill 1040 would prevent athletic trainers from practicing in non-clinical settings. According to the bill's language, a non-clinical setting is "a facility or setting that is unable to bill Medicare for services provided at the facility or setting."

That could mean that if an athlete injures themselves on the field, an athletic trainer, by law, would not be allowed to intervene.

"I've had to spineboard one student-athlete this year," TJ White, head athletic trainer at Benton High School, told "Being able to get over there to him quickly and to instruct him not to move until we find out what's really going on, I think that's key. If House Bill 1040 does pass, I couldn't speak to him."

In addition to that important restriction, the bill could also prevent athletic trainers from providing treatment to student-athletes going through rehabilitation after surgery, or those with spinal injuries.

In practice, that would mean that athletes that complain to an athletic trainer about a back injury would be referred to a specialist and sent away. Students less than a month removed from a surgery would similarly be sent elsewhere for treatment for related issues. 

If the bill passes, it could mean that parents would have to pay for treatment that they might otherwise receive for free from athletic trainers. 

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